Parents often restrict their children from violent video games as they believe that playing such video might make their kids more violent. But, a new research study suggests otherwise.
The study conducted by researchers from the University of York in the UK found no evidence to support the theory that video games make players more violent. The researchers observed the behavior of more than 3000 participants in a series of experiments. It was found that video game concepts do not encourage players to behave in certain ways and that increasing the realism of violent video games does not necessarily increase aggression in players.
The model of learning in games is built on the idea that exposing players to concepts, such as violence in a game, makes those concepts easier to use in ‘real life’. Also known as ‘priming’, it is thought to lead to changes in behavior. To reach a conclusion, the researchers compared the study results to previously conducted studies.
According to the study, which has been published in the journal Entertainment Computing, the researchers also compared different types of gaming realism to find out more conclusive evidence.
In one study, the players played a game in which they had to either be a mouse avoiding being caught by a cat or a car avoiding collisions with trucks.
After playing the game, the participants were shown various images such as a dog or a bus and asked to label them as either a vehicle or an animal.
David Zendle, from the University of York, said that “If players are ‘primed’ through immersing themselves in the concepts of the game, they should be able to categorize the objects associated with this game more quickly in the real world once the game had concluded.”
Zendle added that “Across the two games we didn’t find this to be the case. Participants who played a car-themed game were no quicker at categorizing vehicle images, and indeed in some cases, their reaction time was significantly slower.”
He further concluded that the study findings suggest that there is no link between these kinds of realism in games and the kind of effects that video games are commonly thought to have on their players.